Earlier this week, I had the immense pleasure of visiting organic cocoa farms in the Dominican Republic. For anyone who loves chocolate, it was a dream come true!
The first farm we visited was about four miles outside the city of San Juan de la Maguana. The agricultural operations here are organized into small, divisible parcels to enable independent farmers to gain access to land and establish sustainable cocoa production operations.
The surrounding countryside was breathtakingly beautiful with rolling green hills and lush vegetation as far as my eyes could see. The air was fragrant with the aroma of cocoa beans and coffee trees. We were given our own batches of freshly harvested beans, still warm from their time spent in the sun, to take home.
As we toured the farm, our local guide gave us detailed information on the processes used, explaining that the yield from each tree varies due to soil type, climate and other environmental factors. He also discussed several methods for controlling pests and diseases, such as natural pest repellents and organic crop rotation.
We were taken on a tour of one of the farm’s processing facilities, which have been designed using traditional methods to ensure a high-quality product. Here we saw how cocoa beans are prepared for export – cleaned, dried, roasted and ground into a powder before being packed into airtight bags. Our last stop was the basement storage facility where temperature-controlled rooms are used for holding inventory until the beans are ready for shipment.
This experience has taught me so much about how organic cocoa farming works in the Dominican Republic. Cocoa farmers here not only adhere to sustainable farming practices, but they also provide fresh, quality products that make for some of the best chocolates in the world.
We recently had the opportunity to take a trip to the Dominican Republic to visit organic cocoa farms. We had an eye-opening experience as we explored the farms and talked to locals about their work.
One thing that stood out to us was how much effort was put into creating sustainable farming practices and preserving the natural environment. We found out that farmers have been using agroforestry techniques to create seedling nurseries with both cocoa trees and other species of plants. This helps ensure that the tree cover is maintained while providing them with diverse sources of income.
We also learned that many of the farmers have shifted away from using chemical fertilizers, opting instead to create their own compost fertilizer from organic plant and animal waste they find on the farms. This allows them to produce organic cocoa in a much more cost-effective way than using expensive imported chemical fertilizers.
Visiting the farms was an amazing experience for us, as we got to see first-hand how passionate people are about taking care of their environment, producing high-quality cocoa, and sustaining a living from their crops. It was inspiring to see how much effort goes into growing cocoa and how dedicated these farmers were to preserving the lands they farm on. We left feeling empowered and inspired by all we had seen and heard!